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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 28, 2010 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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johnston running for mayor of wasilla. counterattack. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in new york. leading off tonight, the danger of strangers. it's tough being an incumbent off holder in bad economic times. that's the democrats' problem. a lot of republicans have a different problem. they're the strangers in town. people are suspicious of strangers. hit them where it hurts. define the republicans before they can define themselves. it's already begun with negative ads filling the tv screens. on everything from lawsuits to divorce proceedings. will the strategy work? will it throw the republican tea partyers on the defensive? that's our top story tonight. what advantage the democrats have is the country is with them on ending the tax cuts for the wealthy.
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tonight i'm going to ask a republican what painful cuts his party's willing to make so the wealthiest 2% in this country can get a tax break. plus, call it revenge of the moderates. centrists like republican strategist mark mckinnon and new york mayor michael bloomberg are pushing back against what they see as a rising tide of extremism within the republican party. will this fight strengthen the party or tear it apart? the latest into the investigation of what caused the huge bp spill in the gulf. we discover republicans in the senate are protecting bp from subpoena power and having their people put under oath. why are they stopping a presidential commission from doing its job? are they taking oil money to protect them? finally as promised, bill maher dug into the christine o'donnell files and come up with another gem. if evolution is real, o'donnell wondered, why don't we see monkeys evolving into humans right before our eyes?
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talk about a "sideshow" item. all that's ahead. right now let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. the latest polls. let's start with a couple of races where democrats may be gaining strength. in kentucky, rand paul's lead over jack conway shrunk to two points in the newest poll from survey usa. it's a robo poll, but it's a 13 point swing toward conway, the democrat. in three weeks. he is moving. in nevada, harry reid is up now 45-40 over sharron angle. that's a significant lead considering the outfit who did the poll. a republican pollster. harry reid in a significant lead now. now to california where new "l.a. times" usc poll has senator boxer building a comfortable lead over carly fiorina. look at that number. 51-43. boxer leads by eight points. she's up over 50% which is very significant for an incumbent.
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in the pennsylvania senate race, pat toomey, again, seven-point lead over joe sestak in striking distance. florida, marco rubio is pulling away. he's up by double digits now. both crist and kendrick meek. we'll continue to check the "hardball" scorecard through the races coming up to election day on november 2nd. the democrats' strategy. let's talk about this final strategy. the "washington post" eugene robin. msnbc political analyst. and charles with the politico, the hot charging news organ these days. here are clips from ads that house democrats are running. ohio's betty sutton, arizona's harry mitchell and florida's alan grayson. he's a wild character at times. let's listen to all three of them. >> you've heard the old saying buyer beware. be ware of car salesman tom ganley, sued over 400 times for fraud and more. >> as treasurer he had ethics problems and record of mismanaging our money.
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now he's a predatory real estate speculator. >> he wants to force raped women to bear the child. >> submit to me. >> taliban dan webster. hands off our bodies and our laws. >> submit to me. i don't know -- interesting editing there. he's obviously against abortion rights even for victims of rape according to that. it says, submit to me. is this madman talk? what about these talks? will these work? >> first of all, don't you love the creepy music in the background? they always have the creepy music. sounds as if they're coming to get you. defining the opponent is a time honored strategy and what else are democrats going to do? >> don't they have an advantage here? these guys -- >> some of that goes over the top. but you know, these are -- these incumbents in many cases are fighting for their political lives and they're, you know, they're rightly asking questions about the republicans and what they would do.
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and you can quibble about the manner in which they're doing it. >> the old argument, if the guy on the other side of the line is bicker than you, you can knee him. what do you think about that? the old argument if you're smaller than the other guy you can play rougher than them? in this case, being an incumbent is smaller. they argue if they can bad brush us as corrupt incumbents they can go after the fact nobody knows who they are. >> the point here is that the hour is late and polling is grim. there's not a lot that candidates can do at this late hour. if you're in the south, a democratic candidate in the south, mountain west, lots of regions in this country, your house speaker is in trouble popularity wise. your president is not that popular. the health care reform plan is not that popular. you have a big drag out there and you have to throw whatever you have out there. despite the success of a democratic legislative agenda, not getting traction. you have to throw something out there and it's often a negative ad.
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>> i'm thinking the old song "strangers in the night" which is the only number one song frank ever sang. it was a hell of a song. you can build a case about a stranger you can't build about an ike skelton or guy or woman who's been around for a while. you can commit infant size. go after the person before anybody knows who they are. christine o'donnell, all we know about her is witchcraft basically. >> that is an'sy target. in that race in particular you'll see numbers continue to move in the direction of coons as bill maher rolls out these snippets every week. it's going to affect some races like the scoreboard you just did. i think it's going to help -- this sort of thing is helping harry reid and probably going to pull that out, i think. i'm not quite so sure. it's interesting that race in kentucky has tightened. i'm not sure conway is going to get over the top against rand paul.
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and in florida it kind of looks like marco rubio is going to be the guy. clearly kristin and meek are going to split what would be the democratic and independent voting. >> let me open up the cantaloupe. here's the. times." you wouldn't expect fat cats, wall streeters, free traders -- they have opened up significant polling leads. to get back to somewhat fair game here, charles, if somebody comes out of nowhere and they're a self-financier or tea party and come in with oomph behind them, isn't it fair game to tell people, wait a minute in normal circumstances this buckco wouldn't be on your -- would not be on your dance card. >> i think it's fair game. i wouldn't concede a lot of these ads are fair. is it fair to call somebody a member of the taliban? whether you like this person or hate them, is that fair?
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somebody's really pushed the envelope. when you talk about the tea party candidates and others, they're very susceptible to this because they came out of nowhere. they didn't come through the farm system of american politics. they didn't serve in the legislature or county council. i think they're particularly susceptible to tough comparative ads. >> speaking of the new kids on the block and how vulnerable they are to attack ads if democrats air them, let's look at the new kids on the block. here's the president today talk to a rally of young people. an audio of obama at a conference call to college reporters around the country to get them gigged up. here he is, the president. >> i just want to remind young people they've got to get reengaged in this process. they're going to have to vote in these midterm elections, you've got to take the time to find out where does your congressional candidate stand on various issues? where does your senate candidate stand on various issues? and make an educated decision and participate in this process because, you know, democracy is never a won and done proposition.
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it's something that requires sustained engagement, sustained involvement. i just want to remind everybody of that. >> so, gene, why would he be doing a league of women voters ad like that? that was totally nonpartisan, charles as well. that wasn't exactly a creed speech. it was like, it would be good for you to read the records of all the candidates and get the issues. is that because he knows that young people, if they vote, will vote dems? >> he knows which way they're going to go if they vote. the problem for democrats is getting young people and especially those first-time obama voters, those legions to come out for midterm elections where they, you know, young people usually vote in lower numbers and there's a big question mark as to whether the new people, voters that obama energized and mobilized two years -- you know, in the 2008 cycle can be energized and mobilized in the weeks we have left to vote in this election.
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i think democrats are pretty confident that if we can get them to the polls they're going to have most of the votes. >> charles, i don't know about you, but as a father i have personal responsibility of getting my three kids to vote. you know? some are harder than others. i feel as long as they're in their 20s and i'm around, to hector them into voting. >> i don't have have to worry about that. my kids aren't close to voting age. that's the demographic if you look at the 18 to 29-year-olds. they went for the president in 2008. by every sign we see there's little enthusiasm among the demographic. >> why is that, charles? >> in midterms typically older folks are the ones who show up in greater numbers. i think there are lots of folks who may be disillusioned. or don't have the same energy levels as 2008. it's a big concern you hear from democrats. energying the base. why else would the president
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talk to a bunch of reporters, college reporters? he doesn't like reporters to begin with, yet alone sit around with college reporters. >> is that true? here's politico's new battleground poll showing president obama with a 65% personal approval. 46% job approval. 38% says he deserves re-election. 49% say republicans have done a better job on the economy than the president would. that's pretty hefty. 51% say they would do a better job -- over 40% who say -- gene, we're back to the interesting gap between the president's popularity. people like his smile, his family manner, his wife, they like the kids. they like where he came from. i think in most cases, or at least in the majority of cases. they like this, what we're watching here, coming out spritely, a bit debonair, jub beat. they don't like the record so far. >> some don't like it. some are disillusioned.
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there are some people in those numbers who wish he moved more quickly on his progressive agenda. he mains personally popular and that's why smart republican strategists are saying, you know, gee, we're looking pretty good in 2010, but don't anybody think this tells what's going to happen in 2012. this is still a very popular guy. those legions of new voters, i think, can be remobilized to vote again for barack obama. or a whole lot of them. the immediate question, can they be gotten out to polls in five weeks? >> great question, charles, wasn't on my list to ask. you seem like a sophisticated guy. of many parts. you think business can sit on those billions and trillions of dollars for two more years after they screw obama this time? are they going to keep sitting on their money so they don't invest in the economy for two years to get mitt romney elected to the president? will they do that to the country?
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>> i won't touch the first question, chris. >> that was all one question, bro. >> i prefer splitting the two. i'd say i think what you're going so see the business community do is go whole hog at this election. they envision a scenario which they lose. for example, number one, if they -- if the president has a republican house, that's probably going to be a rough scenario for them anyway because that's what the white house wants if they want to get elected in 2012, re-elected is probably the best case scenario for them. either way i think they weigh the equities and see it as 50/50 endeavor. >> i hope business starts spending. thank you, gene robinson, charles. coming up, democrats think they have a winner in their hands. they want to end the bush tax cuts for the top 2%. they're arguing it's the republicans holding up the middle class tax cut for 98% of the country. is that a winning argument come november 2nd that it's the republicans who stopped the average person and family from getting a tax cut? up next, i'm asking republican congressman what spending cuts he'd make in order to pay for the top bracket to get their break.
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the electoral map for 2012 is changing as a result of this year's census. a review shows some reliably red states, meaning republican states will gain house seats and therefore crucial electorate votes in the next presidential election. texas is the big winner adding four house seats. believe that? florida will pick up two. these are pretty republican states except florida went democrat this time. arizona, georgia, nevada, south carolina, utah and washington state would gain a seat. notice the northeast, midwest are all losing seats. look at that. the big losers, new york and ohio, likely to lose two seats a piece. illinois, iowa, louisiana, massachusetts, michigan, missouri, new jersey and pennsylvania, all lose one. evidence that as a country we're beginning to migrate south and west. it's all because of air-conditioning.
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back to "hardball." republicans pushing to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy didn't say where they'd cut spending to make up the difference. let's watch mike pence, a republic an leader on "meet the press" yesterday. >> where's the painful choice you're prepared to pak? >> cutting discretionary spending. >> on what? >> we could reduce government employment back to 2008 levels because. $35 billion 10. >> what about entitlement spending? are you going to raise the retirement age? >> the last time i was on this program i told you we keep our promises to seniors and near seniors but for americans under the age of 40 we absolutely to have begin to reform medicare and social security in aways to ensure long term -- the pledge to america is not the end all, be all. it's meant to be a good start. >> wow.
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we're joined by two members of the u.s. congress. debbie wasserman-schultz and congressman mccall. sir, do you think it would be good for the congress, you're a member of the house. should there be a vote right now up or down on both the democratic plan on tax cuts and the republican plan on tax cuts? both votes right away? >> absolutely. i think the american people need to know where their elected representativs stand on this issue. the democrats are trying to kick the can down the road until after the election and find out where they stand on this position. i think we ought to vote on it now. >> both alternatives. let's me ask you congresswoman wasserman-schultz. should the congress vote now on either the democratic plan, tax cuts for everybody below $250,000 a year and not the ones above, and a republican alternative, tax cuts for everybody down the road? >> sure. >> why don't you have it?
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>> the republicans won't allow it in the senate. >> you're in the house. >> we're not going to -- what we're focused on is making sure we can extend the tax cuts for the middle class and working families, chris. if we know the republicans are going to hold tax cuts for the wealthiest americans, we have members all across this country that are in tough elections and the republicans would like nothing more than to, you know, pounce on them and accuse them of raising taxes. >> speaker pelosi can hold this vote today. when we come back in session, speaker pelosi can hold this this week before we adjourn, if he wanted to. her problem is she shows a lot of democrats don't support this agenda. >> no. the problem is you all are refusing to support an extension of the middle class tax cuts and holding those hostage? exchange for making sure we add $700 billion to the deficit to give the wealthiest americans a tax break which puts nothing back into the economy. >> congresswoman schultz,
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wasserman-schultz, if there were a vote on the democratic plan, up to $250,000 a year per family and alternative, a vote to recommit, a republican vote to give it to everybody, would that be a fair way to look at this? to have both votes on the floor? would that be fair? >> that might be the fair way to do it except that we all know there would be one chamber that would take that vote and it would leave a lot of members twisting in the wind subject to ridiculous republican accusations when it's them, morely republicans in the senate, who are refusing to allow for that full vote to take place. >> let the american people's voice be heard. let the american people's voice be heard. >> that's right. >> let it be heard before we adjourn before the break. >> let's make sure we can stop holding middle class -- >> let me ask you, you've got the floor here.
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you're on the offensive here. you're winning the argument i think because you want to have the vote. why doesn't the republican party in the senate stop a filibuster and let there be a vote so the voters can see up or down before the election where the two parties stand? why is your party filibustering this in the senate? >> i think they should. >> filibuster against having a vote? >> there we go. >> i think we should have the vote in the house. i think speaker pelosi has a problem on her hands and that is -- >> no, no, no. i let you win the first round. >> democrats don't support it. >> i let you win the first round, congressman mccall. your leadership is filibustering this bill so it will never get to the president's desk. it's all academic. >> it's not my leadership in the house doing that. this needs to come to a vote. >> we should show a picture of a mitch mcconnell so you recognize him so you say, yeah, i do know this guy. he's a leader of senate republicans and never called him up and said mitch, or senator, why don't you let them vote over
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there so we get credit for cutting taxes for all americans? >> they're going to stand up against a tax increase, that would severely damage the economy in a time we least -- debbie, i listened to you. there was a president by the name of john f. kennedy who said, let's cut taxes to get the economy again. it worked. there's a president by the name of reagan who did the same thing. there's a bipartisan economic formula for success. a $3.8 billion tax increase is the wrong way to go for this country. >> what kind of deficits -- i remember it well. we doubled the national debt under ronald reagan. why do you think that is a good record? >> kennedy -- kennedy said tax increases will not get the deficit and debt down and not create jobs. he knew it kills jobs. seems to me that the party of kennedy has gone far astray from his principles. >> already had an opportunity.
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>> i would ask that the conservative democrats join the republicans and what president kennedy stood for. >> congresswoman wasserman-schultz, the senate won't let there be a vote so this isn't going to go anywhere, so it's all academic is what you're arguing? >> excuse me, mike, my turn, please. >> i'll give you that. >> who we're arguing is "a" the republicans have already had their turn at this. we've had these tax cuts in place since 2003 and that's what took us from a record surplus with president clinton. we also had wall street and almost no regulation run amok, send the banking and financial services system into the tank. now the republicans are asking for the keys back. the choice on november 2nd is very clear. democrats are saying we want to make sure -- >> the choice is really clear. >> please let me finish.
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>> i haven't met one small -- >> excuse me. >> increase is taxes is what you all want to do. >> it's okay for you to interrupt me -- >> congressman -- congressman, we have a poll that supports congresswoman wasserman-schultz's opinion. >> it's a strong demand because when you look at $250,000 tax they're talking about over that income level, what you're really talking about is a tax on small business owners. >> no, no, no, you know how they define small business? pricewaterhousecoopers in small business with $26 billion in income. the way they define small business. >> i think we know -- i think we know the situation right now. thank you, congresswoman debbie wasserman-schultz. >> this is not revenue. it's spending. >> we need to get tax cut policy, focus on the middle class. >> cut spending class. >> not the wealthiest americans. >> join us. >> what's the biggest thing we should cut?
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what's the biggest program we should eliminate? >> i think we should cancel unspent slous. >> what program that the federal government spends money on? >> let me answer. >> name the program. >> freeze discretionary spending. >> give me the name of the agency. >> ask him whether or not he wants to privatize -- >> "wall street journal" had a very good idea and that is tie spending to the inflation rate minus 1%. if we did that, we could balance the budget. in less than ten years. i think that's a really good -- everything's on the table. >> what are you going to do to social security, medicare? senior citizes in america should be disturbed -- >> thank you congresswoman wasserman-schultz. up next, bill maher. by the way, republicans will never tell you eliminating a major program. unless you do that all of this is talk. you've got to get rid of what the president is promising to do for people at some point or else it never adds up to how much you spend and bring in.
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up next, bill maher releases another old videotape of christine o'donnell. this is chinese water torture for this candidate and it's pretty clear she doesn't believe in evolution. now, i don't know where she took biologist. check out the "sideshow" coming up.
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back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." a blast from the past. bill maher on friday unveiled another clip of delaware senate candidate christine o'donnell from his october 1998 show. watch as o'donnell casts doubt on the science behind evolution. >> whoun what, evolution is a myth and even darwin, himself -- >> evolution is a myth? >> yeah, you know what -- >> have you ever looked at a monkey? >> why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans? darwin, himself -- >> it takes a long time.
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>> the problem with that -- belief in the bible, part of our american life. refusal to accept science on the other hand and see the evidence of natural history that sits in front of us, that's something else. we studied biology in high school. what did ms. o'donnell study is a fair question. colbert's report. friday, steven to hair -- why did congress already a laughing stock to so many people turned itself into a kmoedy club? here's what happened. >> this is america. i don't want a tomato picked by a mexican. i want it picked by an american then sliced by a guatemalan and served by a venezuelan in a spa where a chilean gives me a brazilian. because my great-grandfather did not travel across the atlantic ocean to see this country
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overrun by immigrants. he did it because he killed a man back in ireland. that's the rumor. i don't know if that's true. i'd like that stricken from the record. >> steny hoyer wasn't laughing. here he is on fox news on sunday. >> i think his testimony was not appropriate. it was an embarrassment for mr. colbert more than the house. >> and he should not have been called? >> i don't know about whether he was called. what he had to say i think was not the way it should have been said. >> steny should have gone further. you want your tooth pulled you go to the dentist, you want your leg pulled you ask steve colbert. they got what they asked for and it didn't help. bp oil disaster, why are republicans running from getting subpoena power?
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president obama has signed into law a $30 billion package of tax breaks and hiring incentives for small businesses. the president is also calling for extending the school year saying america's kids need the extra study time to stay globally competitive. top military commander in afghanistan says taliban leaders reached out to the government seeking reconciliation. a heat wave gripping southern california pushing temperatures in los angeles to a scorching new record high of 113 degrees. academy award nominated
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actress gloria stewart has died, best known to his generation as the elder rose in "titanic." she was 100 years old. now back to "hardball." we need to know the truth. and the commission needs the power to get the truth. so who are you protecting? what are we hiding here? >> who are you protecting? that was senator robert menendez on the oil spill commission which met today. the fact republicans blocked it from having subpoena power. the commission's mandate is to find out what happened. how can it do that without subpoena power? the ability to call people in the oil industry and put them under oath? here's what happened when the senator of new hampshire tried to do just that. let's listen. >> madame president, i ask unanimously consent that the judiciary committee be
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discharged of s3462 a bill to provide subpoena power to the national commission on the british petroleum oil spill in the gulf of mexico and that the senate then proceed to its consideration. >> is there objection? >> on behalf of all the members of the republican conference, i object. >> joining me, senator byron dorgan of north dakota. i don't understand -- i do understand. these guys are in bed with the oil industry. why would you protect the oil industry from answering questions under oath? and being subpoenaed to answer those questions, sir? >> well, it's a charade. i mean, in the list of outrages which is pretty long, this ranks way up there. senator jim demint came to the floor twice. both occasions said i object to giving this commission subpoena power. think of this, three-mile island commissions subpoena power. the terrorist crisis, the financial crisis commissions. both of them had subpoena power. the bp oil spill, we're going to say whatever voluntary cooperation you get, good for you? you've got to have subpoena power in order to do this right.
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>> we have been watching this with admiral allen being incident commander on msnbc and other networks, to be fair for four or five months we've watched this oil story. the american people kept asking how did it happen? my brother was an oil pipeline guy for years. he said bottom line, it's always a management decision if there was a problem. if it was a technical problem, they would have discovered it before, set up a protocol and obeyed it. the fact that they didn't in this case is something you have to look into and see who made that decision. we haven't gotten to the truth without subpoena power. we haven't gotten to the truth without putting people under oath. why would any republican senator think we can do that now without the subpoena power, without putting people in the chair and have them swear to almighty god they're going to tell the truth? >> i don't understand it at all. let me make the point that at a hearing i was at, we had halliburton, transocean, bp all of whom were involved on this rig and in this drill. you know what, they were
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pointing at each other. listen, the only way you're going to get to the real truth, find out exactly what happened is to be able to subpoena all of them and say, look, produce all your books and records so we can inspect them. >> a friend of mine says you can tell if a member is in the tank because of the way they behave. can you tell that demint or any of these other guys are in the tank? i want to be blunt about it. why else would they protect the oil industry except they were paid to do it by campaign contributions? why would they care if a guy goes under oath? you guys have to take an oath. why shouldn't a witness have to take one? >> chris, i don't know that i should go on television and suggest someone might be in the tank, but i will suggest that those who believe there should be a commission without subpoena power are protecting something other than the american position here. that position is dumb in my judgment. >> thank you. it's great to have you on. let me go to david corn because
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david, i think you know what's going on here. it's pretty transparent. >> it is. it was a little republican loving for bp in the middle of the summertime. what they did was really, by stopping the bill then, they've created months now in which this idea of getting subpoena power to the commission hasn't come into play and now it's attached to an energy bill which is going nowhere fast in the senate. again because of republican obstructionism. you have to wonder at some point, whether the republicans make a calculation that it looks just awful. they're apologizing to bp. as congressman barton did. whether they're complaining about about obama being too tough on bp which rand paul and sharron angle have done and giving them a get out of committee hearing with subpoena free card. i mean, it's staggering. >> i'm staggered by the media's inattention to this. i got a drift of this story this weekend. i'm going to keep on it.
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it seems to me after months and months of covering this oil spill and understanding there was a human behavior management decision that led to it, it wasn't some act of god. they were drilling a hole down there and drilling it wrong. and they were putting in sea water when they should have been putting in drilling mud and all kinds of other decisions which were economical from the point of view of an oil company executive and management down the line but not to economical in terms of natural resource and this beloved continue anyone of ours. >> there's a lot to look at. looking at the whole regulatory apparatus and revolving door and who's making decisions for years. not just in the last two years, the bush years and clinton years before that. i'd like to see people brought in and say were you talking to safety experts or talking to lobbyists from oil companies who you hope to get jobs with later on? there's a lot that needs to be looked at. if you look at, say, the republican pledge to america, 43 pages long.
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not one word about the environment, about alternative energy. about corporate responsibility. this is really just not in the republican -- not playbook. it's not in their universe. >> i used the word, well, here. it's a metaphor. it's an oil issue. they're tanked. thank you very much, david corn, for joining us, from mother jones. up next, the tea party ranked up a string of victories through establishment through thus this year and some republicans in the middle are pushing back. which side is going to win this fight over the republican party? the tea party's winning now. let's see if the game's going to change. this is "hardball."
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we've shown you the shocking polls in new york state where republican carl paladino is catching up to democratic candidate andrew cuomo in the governor's race. paladino got another boost when former republican congressman rick lazio pulled out as a third party candidate. paladino beat lazoi for the nomination but lazio doesn't want to hurt the chances of his one-time rival. the right is gearing up for this
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we're back. new york mayor michael bloomberg and republican strategist mark mckinnon are pushing back on tea party activist. in an effort to pull politics back to the middle, bloomberg is throwing his weight behind national mainstream candidates who are willing to reach across the aisle and mark mckinnon is backing the creation of a new group called no labels which is designed to promote bipartisanship. will their efforts strengthen or weaken the republican party? j.c. watts from oklahoma and brendan steinhauser. let me go to j.c. haven't seen you in a while.
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what's your view of -- are they going to be backing people i guess you'd call the mainstream candidates. let me just say the mckinnon group is backing harry reid, meg whitman, lincoln chafee, michael ben nets, mark kirk and joe sestak. that's the bloomberg group. >> chris, i don't have any problem with that. i think they are utilizing the american political system. they are utilizing a process, trying to influence it the way that they would like to see it go. i think the tea party folks are doing the same thing. and chris, i think the tea party folks, we're putting them in too small of a box. i don't think this just ramped up or just ignited here in the last 18 to 20 months.
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i think you probably would have to go back, i could make a strong argument you'd have to go back to 1992 with ross perot and 2002 with howard dean although it was ignited on the left as opposed to the right. here about 18, 16, 18 months ago it ignited again and i don't think it started then because of president obama. i think the last 2 1/2, 3 years of the bush administration, i saw this around the country and wrote about it in my columns for some time. saying this was going to happen. i think the intensity is at a fever pitch level and it's going to be interesting for november. >> what do you make, brendan, of the fact they're starting to move from the center and backing the mainstream candidates against the tea party people? >> well, that list included senator bennett, i think. those are the types of candidates we've already defeated. we defeated them in the republican primary -- >> michael bennett. michael bennett. >> michael bennett, sorry. >> he's the democratic candidate
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and incumbent. also people like mark kirk who won the nomination for the senate in illinois and meg whitman who won the nomination for governor in california. the rest are people who have won primaries. my question to you are you worried the center may hold here? >> i think that we've got the center. our message of fiscal responsibility is the center of american politics and i think that the polls show that. that's why charlie crist will be deemed -- >> wait a minute. they don't call themselves centrists. joe miller is a conservative if not a very conservative guy. sharron angle is very, very conservative. i don't think it's fair to call them centrist. they're not centrists. >> i think our movement is centrist in the sense it attracts conservatives, independent, swing voters. even conservative democrats. that's a big, winning coalition for november. that's what i think our message will be in november. >> let's get our terms straight. is sharron angal conservative or a centrist?
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>> i think a conservative with a centrist message. >> yeah, yeah. what about the second amendment remedies if you don't like the way congress voted. you should take fire arms and use them against congress if you don't like the way they voted. is that a centrist position? >> i don't think it's centrist. >> i hope not. >> when you look at fiscal responsibility, limited government, when you look at the types of messages we have knocking on doors making phone calls. when they focus on those issues, we're going to win in november. that's what's clear. >> you're trying to get them to be sound centrist when they're not. you were a centrist -- you're a mainstream republican. do you honestly think that there's not a difference between you and the people on the far right who are running this election, joe miller up in alaska who knocked off senator murkowski or sharron angle or mike cassel, knocked off by christine o'donnell.
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they have knocked off people from the center right. >> chris, you follow oklahoma conservative that ruled america community of 2,500 people that thought more about using common sense to solve problems. i think we're getting in politics today i heard a pastor friend of mine say once everybody is concerned about the right wing and the left wing and the poor bird is dying and i think this movement that you see, chris, i really think it's benefiting the right. but i think there's republicans, democrats, moderates, conservatives out there who have rallied around i think excessive spending, high taxes, some constitutional issues that they are concerned about and, again, this didn't just happen in the last 16, 18 months.
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>> i want to go to the rebellion against the federal government since george washington had to put down the whiskey rebellion. i had the whiskey rebellion flag in my office. i know about the history. where is all the activity in the streets or on the washington mall under george w.? i didn't see any crowds of glenn beck types waving flags and showing up in the summer raising hell under bush? i saw a president who never vetoed a single spending bill and a congress obsessed with earmarks and lots of pork and you guys didn't whimper. >> that's not true at all. freedom works actually fought very hard against the bailouts under bush, the spending. >> what did you do is this where was this done and what was the reaction? how come it was so invisible? i went over to the headquarters of your organization and interviewed dick armey. there were no rallies on the mall. >> well, we weren't able to do that -- >> why is not. >> we had to build the movement.
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we had to use the technology to organize this opposition that started under president bush. by the time we did that, got our feet under us in the fall of 2008, we had a petition and we pounded republicans on that and it wasn't until we were able to get our feet under us to organize so that we could do tea parties in 2009. >> who did it, republican or democrat? >> well, it was the hank paulson and george bush wing of the republican party, the very wing that's ling right now, by the way. >> mr. watts, we have to go. i'm sorry, sir. please come back. congressman j.c. watts, he mentioned his home state again and again. thank you for joining us. when we return let me finish with some thoughts about -- i think you're going to like what i have to say about public schools. we invented them in this country. now we have to fix them.
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let me finish tonight with how america became a great country this past century. we did it because we took everyone at a young age and educated them. we created something called public school. they had thog like it in the country so many of our families came from. had nothing like it here before. it was the basis of a true democracy where everyone gets a chance to learn, to grow, to become a full share in the accumulated knowledge of mankind. well, we have a problem today. washington, the city where the congress meets, where the federal government is set, now produces young people who are not able to compete in our society. the numbers of those below level in math is 92% in eighth grade.
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just 8% are up to the national level. why do we put up with this? why do teachers get passing grades for their teaching when their students get failing grades and what they're expected to have been taught. that's the question. the democrats protect the unions. the unions protect the teachers. the republicans hate standards. they hate having anything done on a national basis so the localities that are lousy in educating their children get to keep their lousiness secret, they think. everyone knows where the slow parts of the country are and who protects the students? i don't want to make fun of hard-working, committed public schoolteachers. some should be cannonized and i understand the desire to make local decisions locally but think of your kid -- your kid. would you like him or her condemned to a life in a mediocre education to a life afterwards of low ability to compete, low achievement, low hope? once upon a time people would write home to europe with the stories of the wonders of this country, how every young person could go free of charge to a